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Blessing from a Curse

Words of Faith Final

Blessing from a Curse

Words of Faith 9-15-2020

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2020

Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL

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Joshua 9

    [16] Three days after they made the treaty with the Gibeonites, the Israelites heard that they were neighbors, living near them. [17] So the Israelites set out and on the third day came to their cities: Gibeon, Kephirah, Beeroth and Kiriath Jearim. [18] But the Israelites did not attack them, because the leaders of the assembly had sworn an oath to them by the Lord, the God of Israel.

    The whole assembly grumbled against the leaders, [19] but all the leaders answered, "We have given them our oath by the Lord, the God of Israel, and we cannot touch them now. [20] This is what we will do to them: We will let them live, so that wrath will not fall on us for breaking the oath we swore to them." [21] They continued, "Let them live, but let them be woodcutters and water carriers for the entire community." So the leaders' promise to them was kept.

    [22] Then Joshua summoned the Gibeonites and said, "Why did you deceive us by saying, 'We live a long way from you,' while actually you live near us? [23] You are now under a curse: You will never cease to serve as woodcutters and water carriers for the house of my God."

    [24] They answered Joshua, "Your servants were clearly told how the Lord your God had commanded his servant Moses to give you the whole land and to wipe out all its inhabitants from before you. So we feared for our lives because of you, and that is why we did this. [25] We are now in your hands. Do to us whatever seems good and right to you."

    [26] So Joshua saved them from the Israelites, and they did not kill them. [27] That day he made the Gibeonites woodcutters and water carriers for the community and for the altar of the Lord at the place the Lord would choose. And that is what they are to this day.


      It wasn't long before the Israelites realized they had been duped by the Gibeonites.  They had tricked even Joshua into thinking they came from far away when they actually lived about 20 miles away. The Israelites had made a treaty with the Gibeonites under this false pretense.  When the trickery was exposed, many Israelites were furious, but they had no one to blame but themselves. They had not consulted God about this treaty.

      Many wanted to destroy the Gibeonites, but Joshua said that the deception did not nullify the treaty they had made before God.  The agreement was sacred because it was made in the name of the Lord.  To break the oath would bring down God's wrath on Israel, a tragedy that later came to pass during David's reign because Saul disregarded this oath (2 Sam. 21:1-6).

      Joshua did not leave the Gibeonites without rebuke.  He pronounced a curse upon them because of their deception.  They would live but not in freedom.  They would have to serve as woodcutters and water carriers for the people and for the Tabernacle.  

      There are some powerful lessons here.

      First is the absolute value of consulting with God.  There are many difficulties in life that might be avoided if we consult with the Lord and listen to His Spirit.

      Second is that integrity is always important.  Having neglected consultation with God in the first place did not excuse the Israelites from keeping their commitment. And bad behavior on the part of Gibeonites did not excuse them from their oath.

      Finally, and perhaps most important, is to realize that the sovereign grace of the Lord was at work in all these things.  The curse upon the Gibeonites eventually became a blessing in several ways both to them and to Israel.  Not long after this, God worked a great miracle on behalf of the Gibeonites (10:10-14). Later the Tabernacle was pitched at Gibeon (2 Chron. 1:3).  Some of the Gibeonites eventually helped Nehemiah rebuild Jerusalem's wall (Neh. 3:7). The Gibeonites became part of God's plan and a blessing to Israel despite their deception.  

      The wonderful thing about God's love is that His grace can turn a curse into a blessing. The consequences of sin must run their course, but God's grace can not only forgive but also transform mistakes to bring blessings out of failure.

     How then shall we live?  We can learn the great importance of consulting with God, but we must also know that God is still at work in us when we fail to do so.  


     Lord God, forgive me for the times I have not listened to You.  Give me the courage to move on with integrity.  Keep me from compounding sin upon sin.  Show me the way of faithful trust in You.  Transform the missteps of my life into the beauty of Your grace.  In Jesus' name.


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© Jeffrey D. Hoy 2005, 2020

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy - Faith Fellowship Church (EFCA)       

2820 Business Center Blvd.

Melbourne, Florida 32940 (321)-259-7200

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The Words of Faith devotion is published five days a week by E-mail excluding Federal holidays. Please feel free to forward this devotion to a friend who might be blessed by this devotion. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is quoted from the New International Version (R) of The Holy Bible. Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. Words of Faith (c) 1997, 2010 Jeffrey D. Hoy. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward this copyrighted material or use portions of it with appropriate notation of the source for non-profit purposes.